February 27, 2008

Hero 2008

Bruce Hayes, Facilities and School Safety Consultant, Health and Safety Unit, Wyoming Department of Education
The 2008 Healthy Schools Heroes Award goes to a TEAM of five people who demonstrate how state and federal agencies can take leadership for school safety. Nomination by Randy Brown, of the US EPA, Region 8 (8P-TA), Tribal Assistance Program, Denver, CO
Randy Brown writes:

Bruce Hayes has consistently gone above and beyond expectation to remove toxic and hazardous chemicals from Wyoming Public Schools and has assisted with activities in Indian country.

Bruce is very successful with school chemical cleanout activities. Over the past few years, he has worked overtime without compensation to further the school chemical cleanout program in Wyoming. Removing chemicals from these schools prevent eventual release to air, water, and soil.

All chemicals collected are listed on a hazardous waste manifest and transported for appropriate disposal at a Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF) according to land ban restrictions. Wyoming Public Schools will forever be safer for school children based on Bruce's work. Some recent examples of the extraordinary work completed by Bruce are included as follows.

WYOMING SCHOOL HAZARDOUS CHEMICAL CLEANOUT: Bruce Hayes has been instrumental in encouraging the collection and proper disposal of dangerous chemicals from Wyoming Public Schools. Over 8,000 pounds of hazardous chemicals have been collected from Wyoming schools and sent to commercial facilities for proper disposal.

Bruce has consistently promoted the program at his regular school visits, conversations with school officials, and at local seminars and conferences. The hazardous chemicals removed included strong oxidizers like white phosphorus, and toxic substances like mercury, arsenic, sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide. A total of four pounds of potassium cyanide was collected from one school alone. Bruce instituted a process to leverage funding as much as 50% and greatly increased the number of schools that could be impacted by this program.

He has expedited the cleanout of undesirable chemicals from school laboratories. The initiative is being carried out under the Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC) and other Acts. He has built a lasting partnership with school districts to help them remove and properly dispose of old, outdated, and hazardous chemicals found in middle and high school laboratories. The program requires school districts to match funding and implement best practices guidelines aimed at preventing future buildups of these chemicals. The program, which was originally funded by the State of Wyoming up until State funds ran out on June 30, 2004. His actions have resulted in an ongoing program over the interim.

SCHOOL CHEMICAL CLEANOUT, WYOMING DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, GOSHEN COUNTY: Through Bruce's encouragement and commitment, the Goshen County School District has safely removed hazardous chemicals from three high school laboratories.

Bruce collaborated with the WDE, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and Region 8's Pollution Prevention and Toxics Unit, the school district arranged for the collection and proper disposal of toxic and hazardous chemicals during the summer of 2007.

Numerous toxic chemicals including: potassium cyanide, mercury, mercuric chloride, lead oxide, cadmium chloride, chromium trioxide, phosphomolybdic acid, bromine, barium chloride, adrenalin, ammonium hydroxide, antimony trioxide, polyvinyl alcohol, thermite black powder accelerant, formaldehyde, pyridine, 2-propanol, toluene, and cyclohexane were collected by a hazardous waste broker. A total of 1,125 pounds of chemicals were manifested and shipped for proper disposal at a RCRA TSDF.

Funding was leveraged as the school district paid 25% of the disposal costs. Bruce has ensured that hazardous chemicals have been removed from over 50% of Wyoming school districts, making schools safer for Wyoming school children, through a Wyoming legislative grant and a series of EPA grants.

SCHOOL CHEMICAL CLEANOUT: WIND RIVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS, WIND RIVER RESERVATION: Bruce Hayes and EPA Region 8, through a grant to the Wyoming Department of Education, cleaned out numerous hazardous and toxic chemicals from the Wind River Middle and High Schools in Pavillion, Wyoming during the Fall of 2007.

Very large volumes and quantities of chemicals including: arsenic, chromium, cadmium, cyanide, lead, and mercury compounds; strong acids and bases; calcium and sodium metal; sodium azide; antimony trichloride; aniline; polyvinyl alcohol, phosphorus pentoxide; xylene; cyclohexene; phthalic anhydride; ethylene glycol; methanol; methylene chloride; chloroform; testosterone; and pesticides were collected by a hazardous waste broker. The student population is 220 and is 31% Indian. A total of 1,306 pounds of chemicals and 1,089 containers were lab packed, manifested and shipped for disposal, making Wind River Public Schools safer for school children and teachers.